Gangtok, Dec 5
ICAR-KVK, East Sikkim, Ranipool celebrated “World Soil Day” on the theme Stop Soil Pollution with a view to highlight the importance of soil as the most critical component of the natural system and as a vital contributor to the human commonwealth through its contribution to food, water and energy security and as a mitigator of biodiversity loss and climate change. Supporting the healthy soils, integrated management of soil, water, vegetation and biodiversity enables sustainable agricultural production for the environment and farm profits. The program was held at KVK-East Sikkim, ICAR-National Organic Farming Research Institute, Ranipool, on 5th December, 2018. Around 30 farmers from different villages of East Sikkim attended the programme.
Dr. R.K. Avasthe, Joint Director, ICAR-NOFRI, Tadong briefed about healthy soil which is the foundation of the food system by improving soil health and reducing input costs for farmers. Healthy soil is crowded with microscopic and larger organisms that perform many vital functions including converting dead and decaying matter as well as minerals to plant nutrient, he briefed during his address. Furthermore, he stressed upon the soil organic carbon which needs to be increased that will affects the chemical and physical properties of the soil and its overall health. Therefore, it is essential to maintain soil fertility for sustainable organic farming through soil conservation technology, he added.
Mrs. Bina Rai, Joint Director, East Sikkim, FS&AD department, Govt. of Sikkim highlighted the importance of soil health, she focused on better understanding of the linkages between soil life and ecosystem function and the impact of human interventions will enable the reduction of negative impact and the more effective capture of the benefits of soil biological activity for sustainable and productive agriculture. She also briefed about the importance of Soil Health Card for better management of organic resources to enhance their crops’ production and productivity.
Emphasis was also given on the measures to restore and rebuild soils which have been under cultivation for long time by Sh. Boniface Lepcha, SMS-Horticulture. He also said that key to soil restoration is to maximize the retention and recycling of organic matter and plant nutrients, and to minimize the losses of these soil components caused by leaching, runoff and erosion. Thus, the challenge is to identify soil management practices that promote soil organic matter formation and moisture retention and ensure productivity and profitability for farmers in the short term.
Mr. Ezekiel Khawas (JRF) and Ms. Bina Tamang (SRF) were also present in the event and assisted in the smooth execution of the programme. Soil Health Cards were also distributed to the farmers of East Sikkim during the program. The farmers were exposed to the demonstration farms of zero till pea cultivation under rice fallow and seed production of Rajmash to witness the modern cropping system with improved production and resource conservation technologies for Rabi season crops. (PIB)